What a disaster.
So I'm waiting for a load. And waiting. Eventually, I send in a message on my satellite unit to which my dispatcher answers with something like "Are you ready now?" I was ready four or five hours before then and it isn't like this was a big secret... we spoke on both of my "days off" I took. Grr.
A load pops up on my satellite unit. I'm to grab a trailer and run over to Schuyler, Nebraska and trade it for a loaded trailer that needs to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin tomorrow morning. I grab an empty from the yard, but its dirty so I will Do The Right Thing and get it washed out in our wash bay, only to find out that some of the curtains inside used for air flow need repair. So I take it from the wash bay to our trailer inspection lane and wait there for a while when I get beeped and told I have to take a different trailer to this shipper.
That was the first trailer I touched today.
I talked with the guys in the trailer bay and they had me pull that trailer around to yet another bay where it could be worked on, and I dropped it there. Head out to the yard, find the new trailer I'm supposed to take and hook up to it. Just as a what the hell, I start up the reefer as I'm hooking up to see if it runs, and peek inside. It's dirty. And the reefer doesn't run and shows a fault code.
That was the second trailer I touched today.
I phone my dispatcher this time and I mentioned that the trailer repair guys said that I could take a trailer in yet another bay if I wanted. Eventually, that was okayed and I hooked to this new trailer, which had just had one of its doors reattached. I assume this was because some driver managed to detach said door in a violent way. Odds the trailer is dirty and needs a washout? 100% my friend.
That was the third trailer I touched today.
I get lined up for our wash bay behind several other drivers and finally its my turn. Trailer gets washed out, the reefer works and there don't seem to be any other issues so I head out for the 70 mile drive to the shipper.
When I check in at the large Cargil plant I'm told in no uncertain terms that my trailer will have to be washed out. All trailers have to be washed out, even though. my. trailer. was. washed. out. a. freaking. hour. ago. At least the minimum wage workers on the wash dock were pleasant; even cranked down my landing gear for me. To be young again.
My new trailer was waiting for me, preloaded with 20 tons of beef products and chilled to minus 10. I backed up under it and maneuvered it out of its tight parking space before sliding the tandems and doing my walk around. That is when I find out that the previous driver had brought in the trailer minus one of the springs that hold up the hoses under the trailer and they had been dragging on the ground for some distance... at least 70 miles from Omaha, I suspect.
This is the fourth trailer I touched today.
Now, there are four lines running fore and aft on this particular trailer. Two are air lines, one is electrical and the other is for the anti-lock function of the brakes. Of the four, the only one that you can do without is the last one and the one faint glimmer of good luck I had today was that being the only one actually severed. After some consultation with the Powers That Be in our maintenance department, I did some ghetto repairs with some zip ties and brought the trailer back to our shop for some TLC.
In less than an hour three trailer problems were identified and taken care of (golf clap for the trailer guys!) and I was on my way again. By this time there was no way to finish the trip by the end of my driving day so the delivery time had to be moved back to late morning tomorrow.
Was that the end of my lousy luck on The Cursed Load? Oh no, there were two more items of interest:
I had decided to stop at the large Iowa 80 truck stop for the night, mostly because of a hankering for a DQ Blizzard. I pulled off at the correct entrance only to be presented with incredible amounts of traffic for this small town west of Davenport. It turns out there is some sort of show or event going on today and the place, and the other truck stops on that exit, are just madhouses. Not even worth fighting my way in for a parking space.
So, I eventually made my way back to the freeway to head east a bit more for the Flying J about eight miles away. Just as I reach the end of the merge ramp I hear a loud "POP!" sound. A flat tire would be just the perfect ending for such a day, I thought. I pull over safely and get out, but a visual inspection doesn't show any damage or flats. It must have been something from across the freeway at the truck stop.
It will be a good thing when I exorcise this demon tomorrow. Stay tuned.
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